Student Employment Issues and 8 Steps to Overcome Them


Students graduating from college or university would be dreaming of accessing budding employment opportunities. In most cases, the reality is not so easy. According to information from Economic Policy Institute, college graduates can expect to have a tough time acquiring employment in their desired industry, while there is a decrease in quality of jobs for recent graduates.

However, with the myriad of opportunities available, i.e. in different industries, with emerging industries and careers in industries not currently existing, as far back as 5 years, it is no surprise that prospective graduates are highly optimistic about their career prospects.

Below you’ll find eight key student employment issues that graduates face and some advice for overcoming them.

1. Evaluating the relevance of information acquired while at university

Graduate students face three challenges while at university:

  1. Evaluating the relevance of skills and knowledge acquired
  2. Matching this information with employment prospects
  3. Exhibiting these skills and knowledge with confidence and expertise when applying for the job

For current university students, evaluating courses taught in school and their objectives would go a long way in identifying the range of skills that are being acquired for the work environment.

2. Acquiring soft skills

While hard skills would refer to skills acquired during the course of study, soft skills would refer to those which bridge expertise with goal accomplishments.

Some soft skills that are of immense benefit to the students include communication, self-motivation, interpersonal skills, teamwork, problem solving and decisiveness. Here’s a full soft skills list you’ll want to consider.

Plenty of graduates leave university with the knowledge gained from their courses, however, it could be soft skills that set them apart from their competition

3. Gaining exposure in unrelated fields

In addition to understanding the skills acquired through university, graduate students would benefit from an exposure to ventures and industries different from the areas of their primary degree.

In his book, Jobs for Robots, Jason Schenker points to the contributory role of Master’s degrees in unrelated courses supporting his venture into futurism.

Also, with the availability of online courses, on platforms like Coursera, Alison, and FutureLearn, students can acquire additional work skills without leaving the comfort of their homes.

4. Exhibiting proactivity

Graduates who exhibit proactivity in getting their dream jobs will be successful. As the market environment is continually evolving in peaks and troughs, some level of assertiveness and ‘go-getter’ attitude might be required in acquiring the desired position.

The first thing graduating students should understand is that all organisations seek ‘value’. If the graduate possesses something of value to their organisation, then they should be offered a role. So if the graduate/job seeker identifies what value they bring and how to improve what they can offer they will improve their chances of success.

5. Stint with entrepreneurship

Though the acquisition of degrees is usually associated with getting jobs afterwards, the availability of resources to graduates are notable and could lead to a career in entrepreneurship. From venture capital to soft loans made by family and friends, to utilizing credit card limits, college students possess the skills and energy to start ventures on their own.

Essay writing company  and online marketplace, People Per Hour are productive examples which resulted from ventures into entrepreneurship.

6. Gaining quality experience

The employment environment is filled with stories of new applicants who can’t get jobs that require a certain number of years’ experience and frustratingly can’t get the experience required for these jobs.

However, this is where employment as a student could be of relevance. Counsellor at the Community High School, Michigan, John Boshoven advises that students should aim to gain meaningful work experience while in college; and if that were not possible, should acquire experience at trying new ventures.

This additional work experience, sometimes in unrelated fields, are looked upon favourably by employers, and could go to show students’ ability to function in diversified roles.

7. Additional IT skills

Although a full degree in IT is not required for all professions, as advancement in technology ensures the world moves at a faster pace than earlier predicted, the acquisition of knowledge in IT will open doors for graduates.

One of the advantages to IT is the possibility of students utilising their multiple skill set for online marketplaces. This is in addition to serving different clients in different parts of the world, due to no limitation of boundaries.

8. Embracing life-long learning

The challenge of the current educational system is that outgoing undergraduates are being taught skills for jobs that existed years before the arrival of the present job economy. One skill students and prospective graduates are going to have to acquire and take on is ‘life-long learning’. As shown in several startups, the attitude of life-long learning could create opportunities in industries and fields that are entirely unexpected.


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